Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, Anglicized
as Juvenal. Roman satirist
who denounced the vice and folly of Roman society during the reign of emperor Domitian
circa 60-140 A.D.
Juvenal was Born in Aquinum
. Little is known about his life, biographies about him are unauthentic and generaly accepted as fictious. Juvenal was poor much of his life and depnended on the rich people of Rome. He is known for coining the phrase, "panem et circenses
" (bread and circuses) to describe the principal pursuits of the Roman public. He may have served under Gnaeus Julius Agricola
, commanding a cohort
of Dalmatian auxiliaries
, in Britain in 78.
The idiom, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
" (Who shall guard the guardians?) is in his sixth satire. Sixteen satires were written vividly representing life under the Roman empire with the likely time period between 100 – 128 A.D. The bitter criticisim in his writings was rarely equaled. Unsympatheticaly he denounces the careless and lavish society, the vicious oppression, the pretentiousness of women, and the criminality of Romans as he saw them.
Juvenals satires are summed as:
Satire 1: Juvenal states that his purpose is writing satires in a world where men of power are sinners.
Satire 2: Satire on homosexuality
and the betrayal of traditional Roman values.
Satire 3: Distinction of corruption between modern Rome with the older simple way of life found in the countryside.
Satire 4: Absurd political satire about a meeting of an imperial council to agree on how to cook a bizarre fish.
Satire 5: Dinner party where the sponsor constantly humiliates his guests.
Satire 6: Catalogue of evil, eccentric
, and decadent
Satire 7: Intellectual quests are hard without sponsorships in high places.
Satire 8: Noble births should be accompanied by gracious manners.
Satire 9: A discussion where the author guarantees Naevolus
, a male prostitute, there will always be work for him in Rome.
Satire 10: Prayers should be for a healthy mind and body.
Satire 11: Letter invitation to a simple dinner.
Satire 12: Sacrifice to be made for the escape of Catullus
from a storm at sea due to discarding his treasures.
Satire 13: Consoles Calvinus on his loss -- of money.
Satire 14: Children learn the vice of greed
from parents by example.
Satire 15: Mankind has a tendency towards cannibalism
and should follow Pythagoras
Satire 16: Civilians have no remedy against military assaults.